There are many cases in which young people are accused of criminal wrongdoing and their parents are shocked. They say that it doesn’t sound like something their child would ever do.
And this may be true. The child is acting in a way that doesn’t fit with their normal character and that their parents understandably do not expect. But that doesn’t mean that the event didn’t happen. It may just mean that another person influenced the child to take this action. Oftentimes, peer pressure is connected to potential criminal activity in significant ways, especially when those in the wrong are very young.
Following the crowd
Teenagers and even younger children often focus a lot of their energy on social situations. They want to fit into the group. They want to have a positive image among their peers. At times, this can become more important to them than anything else.
Say that a teenager is at the mall with a group of friends when one of them says that they should all shoplift from a nearby store. The teenager would never do this on their own. They can afford to purchase the items in the store if they want them, and they’re not actually interested in those items. They would never steal them absent this peer pressure.
But in that moment, if the entire group decides to shoplift, the teenager might go along. They may feel worried about being marginalized or even kicked out of the group if they refuse. Their social standing becomes more important than following the rules, so they’re willing to take a risk and hope that they don’t get caught.
If you are a parent of a teenager who was caught and who is now facing criminal charges, it’s important to understand how peer pressure may be involved and what legal defense options you have at this time. Seeking legal guidance can help you to better safeguard your child’s rights and legal future as you work through what your teen experienced and how best to help them more broadly.